Why I’m Done Talking About Whether or Not It’s OK to Shave My Vagina

This is not an academic treastise. These are some pure, unedited, early morning pre-coffee shaving-your-pubic-hair thoughts.
Publish date:
October 29, 2013
feminism, Pubic Hair, beauty image, M

I shaved my vagina this morning. As I did it, pretty much the way I always do, stretching one labia and then the other, trying to get to those delicate spots, I found myself answering to a Greek feminist chorus in my head.

A lot of us worry about whether or not we should be shaving our vaginas. About what it MEANS to shave our vaginas. Probably once a week someone pitches me an article about vagina-shaving, as in: “Is it feminist to shave my vagina?” (See also: to wear makeup, to wear high heels, to get plastic surgery, etc. etc.) I wrote one of those ubiquitous vagina-shaving articles myself, back in 2011.

I delete these pitches these days, because you know what? I’m done with this argument.

If you’re a feminist (or even if you're not), if you’re fighting for the rights of all women, then I don’t give a damn what you do with your face or body or weight or whatever. Get a boob job, go on a diet, bleach your butthole. Understand the context, but when you’re done doing whatever you want with YOUR BODY, let’s talk about rape. Let’s talk about actual civil, political, and human rights, about black women and trans women and women who aren’t allowed to drive cars and little girls being sold into sexual slavery. The pussy hair debates are busy work.

And I hate to name names but this is what pisses me off about feminists like Caitlin Moran. Is telling me what to do with my vagina hair or what shoes to wear really your most pressing feminist issue right now? There’s actual bad shit happening all over the world and you know what really doesn’t matter? The state of my freaking pubic hair.

Don’t get me wrong –- I have written plenty about the beauty stuff, and it does hurt women to be held to an arbitrary and unattainable beauty standard. But infighting among feminists about how we individual women choose to navigate these impossible standards seems increasingly myopic to me. Feminist women understand the superficial choices we make and why. Go back in time and liberate me from my 14-year-old gang rape, not my razor.

And don’t tell me I’m trying to look like a little girl either, because believe it or not there is a very big difference between an adult woman with shaved pubic hair and a prepubescent child. Put them next to one another and I swear, you’ll be able to tell which is which quite easily.

And it’s not like somebody’s handing me the special “cooperating with the patriarchy” cookie that people seem to think you get for making “socially approved” choices. Like life is great for women with shaved vaginas and sucks for women with hairy vaginas? No, life sucks for both of those women a lot of the time, for different reasons, because they’re BOTH WOMEN. Women who do everything they’re "supposed to do" to maintain their appearances get objectified, harassed, discriminated against, exploited, preyed upon and raped the same way women who opt out of that stuff do.

Participating in the world of "patriarchy-approved" activities is just as painful as rejecting them, I promise you that. It's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't system. No, I don't want to live in a world where some men think I have to shave my vagina to be desirable. Neither, however, do I want to live in a world where some women think I have to grow my pubic hair in order to be a good feminist.

And so-called “choice feminists” aren’t standing around thinking we just really love a bare vagina like that’s an idea that just popped into our heads one day. We know where that idea came from. But we still live in this world, where we still have to make one choice or another and if shaving my vagina helps me walk through my day a little bit happier and more comfortable so that I can actually HELP another woman, then please, get off my back once and for all.

So I'm calling the question. Do what you want with your pussy. Seriously, I just don't want to talk about it anymore.